Nyhan Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

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Alumnae Shonda Rhimes ’91 and Heidi Williams ’03 also to join the honorary society.

Brendan Nyhan
Government professor Brendan Nyhan, who studies misinformation and misperception in such fields as politics and health care, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Brendan Nyhan, the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the nation’s founding scholarly society announced this week.

Two alumnae—writer, director, and producer Shonda Rhimes ’91 and Dartmouth-bound professor Heidi Williams ’03—were also among the 269 people elected to the academy from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research, and science.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Sept. 30 in Cambridge, Mass, where the academy is headquartered.

Nyhan, a government professor, focuses his work on misperceptions about politics and health care as well as political communication and the media. He is a co-director of Bright Line Watch, a watchdog group that monitors the status of American democracy, as is Associate Dean for the Social Sciences John Carey, who was elected to the academy in 2012.

Nyhan was also named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2022.

“Brendan Nyhan’s election to the academy underscores the impact and importance of his incisive and influential scholarship at the nexus of social perception, political communications, and the media,” says Provost David Kotz ’86.

Elizabeth F. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, says, “Brendan Nyhan’s far-ranging scholarship examines the state of democratic norms and such critical areas as the formation of climate beliefs, COVID-19 misperceptions, and extremist content. Membership in the American Academy is wonderful recognition of his outstanding accomplishments as a political scientist and public intellectual.”

Nyhan, who was elected to the academy in the field of political science, credits his colleagues for helping him in his work.

“I am thrilled at the news and so grateful for the support and encouragement that my friends and colleagues here have provided to me over the years. I couldn’t have done it without them,” says Nyhan.

Rhimes, who was elected in the field of business, corporate, and philanthropic leadership, is the award-winning creator of Grey’s AnatomyPrivate PracticeScandal, and Inventing Anna and is the founder of Shondaland which has produced such hits as BridgertonHow to Get Away With MurderStation 19, and For The People.

An incoming member of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, Rhimes last week was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, according to an announcement from the White House.

Williams, the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics at Stanford University, received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2015 and is the editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. She will be joining the Department of Economics at Dartmouth in July.

A math major at Dartmouth, her research includes the impacts of technological change, with a focus on health care markets.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and others, and among the first class elected to the society in 1781 were Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

Among the other members elected to the 2023 academy class are actor and producer Michelle Yeoh, author Michael Lewis, Ukrainian-American poet Ilya Kaminsky, and songwriter, director, and producer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

More than 30 Dartmouth faculty have been elected to the academy over the years, including President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, Tuck School of Business Dean Matthew Slaughter, Carey, Professor of Biological Sciences Mark McPeek, and Roth Family Distinguished Professor of Finance Kenneth French.

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